Microsoft has launched a student-driven and hands-on hackathon programme to spur innovation among university students across Kenya.

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The Game of Learners (GOL) programme in the form of a hackathon has been developed by Microsoft’s Africa Development Centre (ADC). The overall objective is to empower the students to develop impactful solutions that can help address some of Africa’s and the world challenges.

It is structured as a 5-week virtual hackathon comprised of weekly sprints where, at the end of the 5th week, all participating teams will submit their final projects for judging. There will be 13 volunteers from Microsoft to mentor the students throughout the 5-week engagement and judge each team’s final project submission.

“The program’s objective is to empower Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs) to develop leadership skills by teaching learners (student participants) technical skills in a fun competition while building awareness to all undergrad students,” says Jack Ngare, the ADC Managing Director.

“The original plan for GOL was to be conducted on campus at one of our partner universities. However, due to the pandemic we pivoted to a completely virtual experience which removed geographic limitations and has actually provided us with an opportunity to reach more students across the region.” he adds.

The MSPs will define the challenge and each team lead will dictate the rhythm of the weekly sprints. All participants will have access to development resources provided by Microsoft throughout the competition.

Winner evaluation and selection will be based on the following weekly sprint submission (25%), Judging of final submission (50%) and Twitter voting of final submission (25%)

Each standing member of the winning team will be rewarded with 1-year Azure credits, 1-year LinkedIn Learning vouchers, Digital certificate and digital badge for winning and mentorship from preferred professionals upon completion.

GOL is a multi-week hackathon developed by the Africa Development Centre to be executed by Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors –  global group of campus leaders who are eager to help fellow students, create robust tech communities, and develop technical and career skills for the future.

Ngare says the hackathon present an opportunity for students to interact and engage with one another but most importantly presents a platform for them to create solutions for the African continent that are globally scalable.

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